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GAA 2019 Symposium

21-22 April 2019

In association with Gemboree 2019 at the Rockhampton Showgrounds 19-22 April (Easter)

The purpose is to create a great event in the Lapidaries and Gemmologists calendar to add value to a membership, increase the profile and shine a light on how gemmology helps Lapidaries round Australia. 

DID YOU KNOW The first Lapidary Club in Australia was started by the first Australian Gemmologist, Jack Taylor?


Optional tour of the Gemboree and see their workshops and movies.


Dinner with Gemboree 2019 Trophy night.  Contact Gemboree organisers for bookings GEMBOREE2019@Outlook.com.au


Jack Taylor Memorial Lecture presented by the GAA Patron, Terry Coldham.

A Raffle and silent Auction.

Book beofre the Symposium and recieve special Early Bird Prices of $10 per session, $30 per day or $50 for both days.

At the Sympsoium they will be $15 per session, $50 per day and $80 for two days.

Join one session or all the sessions on TryBooking:



21 April 2019

Speaker: Ian Bone. Gem Merchant, Lapidarist
Topic: Responsible and ethical jewellery incorporating sustainable mining practices

Lunch 12.00pm-1.30pm
Food within Gemboree setting

Speaker: Grant Hamid, Gemmologist and Valuer
Topic: The Corundum conundrum. History of sapphires and its treatments.

Speaker: Kurt Steffans, Geologist and Boulder Opal expert.
Topic: Gemstones! But first, Geology – overview of Central Queensland boulder opal fields and host rock formation.

Speaker: Jenni Brammall. Gemmologist, Palaeontologist and Valuer
Topic : Australian opal - so much to love, so much to learn

The 4 pm Sunday session brought forward to 5.00pm with drinks and nibble
Speaker: Brian Hay Cyber Space Security Specialist
Topic: Why is Cyber Security all about people - not technology!" or "Know your enemy! Cybersecurity is a war - be prepared!"



22nd April 2019

Speaker: Rod Beattie Gemmologist and Lapidarist.
Topic: Tales of MIA in South East Asia mines and discoveries.

Lunch 12.00pm-1.30pm
Food within Gemboree setting

Speaker: Laura Phillis. FGAA
Topic: Colour, how, why and where?

Speaker: Stacey Lim FGAA BA Design
Topic: Fascinating story of Crystals.

NOW 5PM SUNDAY     4.00pm-5.00pm
Speaker: Brian Hay Cyber Space Security Specialist
Topic: Why is Cyber Security all about people - not technology!" or "Know your enemy! Cybersecurity is a war - be prepared!"


Book on TryBooking:



Ian Bone

Living in Central Queensland as a young boy Ian visited the sapphire fields with his father and learned to fossick for the gemstone. Ian also learned how to both facet and cab gemstones at an early age.

Ian’s has an undergraduate degree in Arts/Business and a postgraduate MBA. His education, skills and competencies in leadership, strategy, marketing, training, instruction and teaching give him the capability to help people achieve their personal and professional goals. When Ian was in his mid 30’s he was appointed to a senior leadership and teaching role at CQ University, while there he undertook the MBA study program.

After leaving CQU Ian established a consulting business, helping small business, NFP organisations and sporting clubs achieve their business and development goals. Ian’s career has primarily been in positions of senior management, leadership in human service organisations, business consulting and that of a professional Yacht Captain.

Since 2010 Ian has been a gemstone market development consultant, gem collector, gem cutter, and involved in the marketing and promotion of Central Queensland Gemstones. Ian has been working with Central Queensland gemstone producers to market, promote and sell their gem products. His goal is to help Central Queensland gemstone producers to reach their potential opening up new markets using new technologies and marketing initiatives.

Ian is a member of lapidary clubs both in Queensland and in Florida. He enjoys collecting and cutting gemstones and promoting Queensland gemstones to the world.

Grant Hamid

Grant is a third generation wholesale gem merchant based in Melbourne, Australia and selling throughout Australasia. He completed his diploma of Gemmology in 1975, followed by the Diploma of Diamond Technology after which he then started demonstrating in practical classes and delivering theory lectures, specialising in Corundum and Beryl. He was a member of the pilot Valuation course for the Jewellers Association of Australia and was chairman of the Valuation course for 13 years and has presented lectures on coloured stone valuation continuously.

Apart from his dedication to teaching for the GAA, he has been state president for 2 terms, Federal President and Federal Chairman. In 2012 he was awarded an Honorary Life Membership of the GAA for his services to Gemmology. He has travelled the world attending ICA and GIA conferences and purchasing quality gems for his family business.

Kurt Steffens

My family first started mining in 1972 in the QLD boulder opal fields close to Opalton, I first visited the opal mines as a 2 year old and have been visiting regularly since. I did several years of schooling by distance education whilst living and working in the fields. Since completing high school I have taken my passion of opal into a bachelor of Geology at JCU and an honours degree at the University of Sydney where I researched the exploration of precious opal. I have worked in the family opal mines and at Altmann and Cherny Jewellers whilst living in Sydney.

Speaking engagements:

·      GESSS conference, Macquarie University (best mining seminar, peoples choice and most innovative presentation)

·      Geological survey of NSW seminar Hunter Valley 

·      Guest presentation to research department at Australian National University

·      8th National Opal Symposium, Winton

·      9th National Opal symposium, Lightning Ridge 

Gemstones! But first, Geology – overview of Central Queensland boulder opal fields and host rock formation

If you have seen boulder opal in the rough, you will know it comes in a wide variety of natural host rocks. The most common opal host rock found in Central Queensland is widely known within the industry as ‘ironstone boulder’, these vary greatly in size, weight, density and chemical composition. The characteristics of host rock in boulder opal can affect the value immensely, it can also determine how the opal is processed, cut and polished and set in jewellery. Regional scale geological processes result in the transportation or liberation of iron and magnesium oxides which are integral to boulder formation. It is the micro scale, localised events that form the vast array of boulders which aren’t well understood at the present. This talk will shed some light on the geological history of the region and discuss why the host rock can be so varied and impact on the quality of opal discovered.


Jenni Brammall

Jenni Brammall has been manager of Australian Opal Centre / Lightning Ridge Opal and Fossil Centre since 2004. She has overseen the project’s development from an ambitious dream to a substantial reality; and from local government seed funding to a self-funding enterprise with diverse stakeholders, activities and assets. Jenni has fostered relationships with other organisations in the opal, gemstone industry, tourism, scientific research, education, museum and cultural sectors; developed and implemented AOC programs; and applied for, managed and acquitted local, NSW and Federal government grant-funded projects for the AOC.

Jenni is a palaeontologist, gemmologist, opal valuer, and a valuer of fossils and opal-related items for the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. Her professional background includes postgraduate research and fieldwork in vertebrate palaeontology; scientific photography; scientific research assistant and university tutor; journalism, event management, exhibition development, opal cutting and carving; jewellery design, opal sales and marketing, photography, writing, graphic design and publication.

A former board member of Lightning Ridge Tourism Association, Jenni has involvement with many community organisations. She currently sits on the Reserve Trust for Lightning Ridge Historical Reserve, is a member of the Opal Committee of the Gemmological Association of Australia, a Life Member of Lightning Ridge Historical Society, a Life Member and Founder of the AOC, and serves on the editorial committee of The Australian Gemmologist.


Rod Beattie

Rod has done extensive restoration and research on the Thai-Burma Railway, including the POWs that worked on the railway.

An important part of the work that I have done over the years is to take former PoWs or their families back to their areas of work on the railway. Originally this was done voluntarily but has now become an important part of TBRC's operation. As time allows I also continue to search for particular areas of interest along the abandoned railway and uncover many wartime artifacts and stories.

Due to Rod’s dedication and accomplishments he has been formally recognised by the Dutch Queen and appointed a Knight of the Order of Orange Nassau. Also presented with the Order of Australia Medal and
made a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

At the end of June 2013 I retired after eighteen years as manager of the war cemeteries in Thailand to allow me to commit more time to TBRC, the increasing number of families wishing to make pilgrimages along the railway and to the ongoing research into PoWs.

Rod continues in his spare time to buy, sell and cut gems with Capricorn Gems.


Laura Phillis

Laura has been working in the jewellery industry for over 9 years, and graduated her gemmology diploma in 2014. She is the owner of Tatum Gems and has been professionally cutting gemstones for 5 years, trained in both specialist repair work and custom cutting across all gemstone materials, including most recently, learning diamond cutting. Laura has been a proud lecturer and Education Officer for the GAA for the past 3 years, as well as being one of the Federal Directors of the organisation. She was most recently one of 12 lapidarists invited to participate in the Lapidary Extravaganza from Somewhere In The Rainbow at the 2019 Tucson show.

How Gemmology has helped me as a gem cutter.

What is a good cut and how does it influence the appearance of a gem? Understanding the fundamentals of how light reacts with a stone, and why some stones are darker or lighter, or why some even show 2 or 3 colours, all play a role in deciding how to cut a gemstone to its best advantage. Gemmology has also helped me to Identify other important features such as cleavage planes, crystal shapes and treatments which are just as important when choosing the most suitable cut for a stone. This presentation will cover some of the basics to identify for cutters, buyers, and all round gem enthusiasts.


Stacey Lim

Stacey Lim has been in the industry since 2008, working as a graphic designer and then jewellery designer.

My love of gemstones began as a sparkle- obsessed toddler with a knack for filling my pockets with rocks at every opportunity. My passion for jewellery was ignited at the age of 7 when my family moved to Dubai for a few months and regular visits to the gold souks and artisan markets opened my eyes to the beauty of gemstones and the craft of jewellery making.

I am a gemmologist, designer, writer, cheese aficionado, cat owner, resourceful, creative minded, jewellery hoarder, pyrite collector, and passionate communicator on all things gemmology and jewellery.


Brian Hay

CCS Cultural Cyber Security Executive Director - Brian Hay APM has a rare blend of cyber security skills and business attributes. Long considered a Thought Leader in the world of Cyber Security he learned his craft not from the technical demands of the industry but rather by focusing on the activities of organised crime and cyber criminals.

Having developed the security concept of the “Lifecycle of Cybercrime”” he consults with key clients to understand their business strategies and seeks to assist organisational objectives whilst ensuring the highest levels of security. His broad environmental awareness and thought leadership expertise seeks to understand the client environment in order to align how CCS can assist in meeting the client’s full spectrum of security requirements, from governance, risk management, compliance and technical consulting, through to technology integration, training and managed services. Recently with Unisys as Lead CISO Advisor APAC, Security he was responsible for managing and developing Unisys’ Security Consulting business for Asia Pacific, while delivering operational and service excellence.

Brian brings a wealth of security experience, and has a proven record of partnering with industry for innovative solutions to difficult problems.

Prior to joining Unisys, Brian was General Manager, Security for Dimension Data, Australia. Prior to this Brian was Detective Superintendent at Queensland Police, where he served 35 years. Since 2004, he has worked extensively in the area of financial, identity and cybercrime. He was Commander of the Queensland Police Fraud & Cyber Crime Group, Chair of the Australia New Zealand Police Advisory Agency’s eCrime Working Group, a pivotal driver of the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network, and member of the Federal Attorney-General’s National Cybercrime Working Group.

In 2009 Brian was the recipient of an international award from McAfee for efforts in combating cybercrime - "The International Award for Cyber Crime Fighter of the Year". Brian is also the recipient of the Australian Police Medal, and in 2010 he was the recipient of the National AusCERT Award for Individual Excellence in Information Security. He has a Masters in Public Policy and Administration and former President of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (Brisbane Chapter).

Brian is an industry renown and sought-after cybersecurity evangelist, thought leader, public speaker and roundtable facilitator.

Here are some of his speaking engagements:

  • CFO Symposiums - Australia & New Zealand (2015-17)
  • Navigating Cyber Disruption (2017)
  • Using Threat Intelligence to Drive Business Outcomes, Malaysia (2017)
  • FST Future of Security, Proactively Shaping your Business for the Security Landscape (2017)
  • Cyber Terrorism Conference (2017)
  • CISO Leaders Summit (2017)
  • International Terrorism and Money Laundering Conference, Turkey (2013)
  • Global Credit Card Fraud Summit, Interpol HQ, Lyon, France (2012)
  • Cyber and Identity Crime, New Delhi, India (2012)
  • Security and Mobile Payments, Singapore (2014)
  • AISA Forums and events (ongoing)
  • International Financial Crime Investigator’s Conference, Toronto
  • FBI International Crime Conference

Papers by Brian Hay

  • The Lifecycle of Cybercrime, CSO Online Publication
  • The Three Pillars of Excellence, CSO Online Publication
  • Overt Vs Covert, CSO Online Publication
  • Mandatory Data Breach Disclosure, CSO Online Publication
  • Responding to organised payment card compromise and subsequent fraud, Brian Hay & Dr Julianne Webster, published 2014 journal, Griffith University

"Understanding the 'Lifecycle of Cybercrime' and that security is a business and people risk not a technology conversation. This is crucial in preparing for the continuously developing threat landscape." - Brian Hay